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Hans Raj Vs. Gappulal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 75 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Raj88
ActsRajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 - Sections 3 and 7
AppellantHans Raj
RespondentGappulal and anr.
Appellant Advocate P.N. Dutt, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.B.L. Saxena, Adv.
DispositionRevision allowed
Cases ReferredRemon v. City of London Real Property Co.
Excerpt:
.....all right on a strictly literal interpretation of the words used in the relevant sections of the jaipur rent control order, but we cannot fail to point out that some times a strictly literal interpretation may not be the correct interpretation when dealing with a remedial legislation like the jaipur rent control order. observed as follows at page 58: whom did they mean to include in the term 'tenant'? if a tenant by agreement whose tenancy had expired was not within those terms, the whole purpose of the act would have been defeated, for it was obviously intended to allow former tenants who were willing to carry out the terms of their old tenancy, as modified by any permissible statutory increases of rent, to stay on. unless 'tenant' includes a former tenant by agreement holding over..........down good law, and this bench should, therefore, reconsider the matter. that was a case under the jaipur rent control order, 1947, and the question that arose there was whether sections 3and 5 of that order were applicable to a tenant whose tenancy had been determined, but who remained in occupation for some time after the determination of the tenancy. the learned judge held that sections 3 and 5 of the jaipur rent control order, 1947, applied to cases where the relationship of the landlord and tenant existed between the parties and that where such relationship had come to an end and on the determination of a lease, those sections did not apply. he, therefore, held that it was open to the landlord, after giving notice of termination of tenancy, to charge more for use and occupation than.....
Judgment:

Wanchoo, C.J.

1. This is a revision by Hansraj against the order of the Civil Judge, Jaipur City, refusing to stay the suit brought by Gappulal and another against him.

2. The fact giving rise to this revision are briefly these. Hans Raj was a tenant of Gappulal & Damodar. It is said that the landlords gave notice to Hansraj on 16-9-1950, determining the tenancy. Thereafter, a suit was filed by them on the 10th of September, 1951 in the court of the Civil Judge for recovery of damages for use and occupation for the period after the determination of the tenancy. Before this, however, the tenant, Hansraj, has filed a suit on 4-1-1951, for fixation of standard rent under Section 6, Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950, hereafter called the principal Act. As soon as the landlords filed their suit for damages for use and occupation, Hansraj applied to the Munsifs Court under Section 7 of the principal Act, for an order of stay of proceedings in the Civil Judge's Court. Thereupon the Munsif passed an order for stay of proceedings in the Civil Judge's Court under that section. When that order was received by the Civil Judge, it was argued on behalf of the landlords-opposite parties that Section 7 did rot apply to that kind of suit which was pending in the Civil Judge's Court, and, therefore, the Civil Judge could ignore the order of the Munsif. This contention has been accepted by the Civil Judge relying on a single Judge decision of this court in -- 'Hanuman Bux v. Dev Dutt', AIR 1952 Raj 111. The Civil Judge has held that the suit before him is for damages for use and occupation, and not for arrears of rents, and Section 7 has no application, and has, therefore, refused to stay the suit. The present revision is against that order.

3. Learned counsel for the applicant Hansraj contends that the decision of the learned Single Judge in -- 'Hanuman Bux's case', (AIR 1052 Raj 111) is incorrect and does not lay down good Law, and this Bench should, therefore, reconsider the matter. That was a case under the Jaipur Rent Control Order, 1947, and the question that arose there was whether Sections 3and 5 of that Order were applicable to a tenant whose tenancy had been determined, but who remained in occupation for some time after the determination of the tenancy. The learned Judge held that Sections 3 and 5 of the Jaipur Rent Control Order, 1947, applied to cases where the relationship of the landlord and tenant existed between the parties and that where such relationship had come to an end and on the determination of a lease, those sections did not apply. He, therefore, held that it was open to the landlord, after giving notice of termination of tenancy, to charge more for use and occupation than the rent, which was agreed between the parties before the tenancy was determined.

4. If we may say so with respect, the decision appears all right on a strictly literal interpretation of the words used in the relevant sections of the Jaipur Rent Control Order, but we cannot fail to point out that some times a strictly literal interpretation may not be the correct interpretation when dealing with a remedial legislation like the Jaipur Rent Control Order. Such a strictly literal interpretation in cases of remedial legislation may wholly or in part nullify the benefits which the legislature intends to confer on those for whom the legislation is intended. In this very case, the intention of the Jaipur Legislature obviously was to come to the rescue of tenants, so that they remained in occupation of the premises let to them on the rents which they were paying, and thus be saved from excessive increases in rent on account of the emergency which was then prevailing due to shortage of houses. But if it was open to a landlord to give notice terminating the tenancy, and then claim any amount as damages for use and occupation, much, at any rate, of the purpose of this legislation would have disappeared. It seems that this aspect of the matter was not urged before the learned Judge who decided 'Hanuman Bux's case', (AIR 1952 Raj. 111).

5. Our attention has been invited to --'Mohd. Ishaq v. Hidayatu', 1948 Jaipur L R 368, where a question of interpretation of Clauses 10(1) and (2), Jaipur Rent Control Order, 1943, arose. Clause 10(2) provided for obtaining a certificate from the Rent Controller in cases to which Clause 10(1) applied. Clause 10(1) laid down that the landlord was not entitled to recovery of possession of any house so long as the tenant paid, or was ready and willing to pay, rent to the full extent allowable by the order. In that case, the landlord had determined the tenancy by notice, and the question then arose whether a certificate was necessary from the Rent Controller before the suit for ejectment could be filed. The case came before a Division Bench, and one of the learned Judges took the view that as the tenancy had come to an end after notice of its determination had been given, there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties thereafter, and Clause 10(1) did not apply to such a case, and, therefore, Clause 10(2) also did not apply. The other learned Judge, however, was of the view that the words 'Landlord and tenant' used in the clause should be deemed to include what might be called an ex-landlord and an ex-tenant, and it was necessary to obtain the permission of the Rent Controller for ejectment even after a notice determining the tenancy had been given. The matter was then laid before the Chief Justice of the Jaipur High Court, and heAgreed with the second learned Judge, and said that if that view was not taken, the provisions of the Rent Control Order would become largely infructuous.

6. Similar remedial legislation relating to rent control came for consideration before the King's Bench Division in -- 'Remon v. City of London Real Property Co. Limited', (1921) 1 K B 49. There also the tenancy had been determined and a question then arose whether the tenant, who had continued in possession after the determination of the tenancy, could take advantage of the Act, which came into force after the tenancy had been determined but before the tenant was actually dispossessed. Bankes L. J., dealing with this matter, observed as follows at page 54:

'In no ordinary sense of the word was the respondent a tenant of the premises on July 2. His term had expired. His landlords hadendeavoured to get him to go out. He was not even a tenant at sufferance. It is however clear that in all the Rent Restrictions Acts the expression 'tenant' has been used in a special, a peculiar sense, and as including a person who might be described as an Ex-tenant, some one whose occupation had commenced as tenant and who had continued in occupation without any legal right to do so except possibly such as the Acts themselves conferred upon him. The respondent therefore on the coming into operation of the new Act was a tenant within the meaning of that expression in the Act.'

Scrutton L. J. observed as follows at page 58:

'Whom did they mean to include in the term 'tenant'? If a tenant by agreement whose tenancy had expired was not within those terms, the whole purpose of the Act would have been defeated, for it was obviously intended to allow former tenants who were willing to carry out the terms of their old tenancy, as modified by any permissible statutory increases of rent, to stay on. If this was not so every weekly or monthly tenant,the small tenant for whose benefit the Acts were obviously framed, was outside the Act. Unless 'tenant' includes a former tenant by agreement holding over against the will of the landlord, and 'letting' includes the landlord's relation to such a tenant, the whole object of the Acts is defeated. It is true that some of these persons would never previously have been called 'tenants' by any lawyer.'

7. In this case, therefore, the word 'tenant'was interpreted to have been used in a specialsense in the Rent Restriction Act, and we thinkthat the same special sense should be attributedto the word 'tenant' in the principal Act.

8. Then we may refer to -- 'Karani Industrial Bank Ltd., v. Satya Niranjan Shaw', AIR 1928 PC 227. That was a case under the Calcutta Rent Act, 1920, and a question arose as to the meaning of the word 'tenant' appearing in Section 14 of the Act. After considering the various provision of that Act. their Lordships observed as follows at page 230: 'In order to give any working effect to the Act it is necessary that the words 'landlord and tenant' must include, as they often do in ordinary parlance, ex-landlord and ex-tenant. An action by Ex-landlord against ex-tenant might ordinarily be described as an action of landlord against tenant. In Section II,which provides for what has come to be known as a statutory tenancy, 'tenant' must include a person whose term under the contract of tenancy has come to an end. This agrees with the decision of the English Court of appeal in -- 'Remon v. City of London Real Property Co.', (1921-1 K B 49).' (Already cited above).

9. It has been urged, however, that the principal Act defines the word 'tenant', and as such we may not go beyond that definition. Let us, therefore, look at that definition, which is in these terms :

' 'Tenant' means the person by whom rent is, or but for a contract express or implied would be, payable for any premises and includes any person holding or occupying the premises as a sub-tenant.'

This definition of 'tenant' does not, in our opinion, make any difference to the interpretation of that word, for it merely says that 'tenant' means a person by whom rent is payable. The word 'rent' is nowhere defined and if the purposes of this Act are to be fulfilled, rent must be deemed to include whatever is paid as damages for use and occupation, for in common parlance that is nothing but rent for the house tnough in strict legal terminology it is called damages for use and occupation.

10. That this was the intention of the Legislature is further made clear by the fact that an amendment has been made by Act, 9 of 1952. By Section 2(b) of that Act the following words have been added to the definition of 'tenant' in Section 3(vii) of the principal Act:

'Or any person continuing in possession afterthe termination of a tenancy in his favourotherwise than under the provisions of thisAct.'

These words, which were introduced in March, 1952, make it clear what the intention of the legislature was when enacting the principal Act. We find no difficulty in interpreting the words used in the principal Act in such a manner as to carry out the intentions of the legislature. It is not necessary to adhere strictly to the literal interpretation which seems to have been given to the corresponding words in the Jaipur Rent Control Order in 'Hanuman Bux's case', (AIR 1952 Raj 111). We are, therefore, of opinion that 'Hanuman Bux's case' was wrongly decided and that Section 7 of the principal Act applies to a case of this kind where the suit is for recovery of what in legal terminology is called damages for use and occupation. This suit is, more or less, the same as a suit for recovery of arrears of rent, in view of the authorities we have cited, such a suit must also be stayed pending the decision of a suit under Section 6 of the principal Act.

11. We, therefore, allow this revision, setaside the order of the court below, and directthat the suit against the applicant pending inthe Court of Civil Judge. Jaipur City, be stayed pending disposal of the suit under Section 6 ofthe principal Act.


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